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Hull to Liverpool - Week 2 blog by Jane Benyon

Day 7

We have had a lovely lazy day today, staying with a charming couple in Ilkley, of 'Calendar Girl' fame. They know all the real Calendar Girls well and the house looks over the Cow and Calf rock on Ilkley Moor made famous in the film.  It is a gorgeous day and we spend a gentle morning going to look round Bolton Abbey, beautifully maintained by the Devonshire family. I spend a happy afternoon catching up with my blog while Tom and Marcus go to see the battlefield of Towton the last battle of the War of the Roses.  This has been a very welcome break from walking.

Day 8

Although we try to leave early it takes us much longer to negotiate Leeds morning traffic than anticipated so we arrive a good hour later than our normal start time. This was not helped by the fact that I gave Markus the postcode for the end of today's walk and not the beginning. We then only realised half way to the start that we could have started at the end and walked the route backward!  Stupid us.
We eventually get started, but it as easy walk today along the Trans Pennine Way again,but this time it is on Tarmac cycle paths set along a disused railway line. We are now in the Peak District so the countryside has totally changed into rolling moorland dotted with sheep and cattle. The joy of old railway lines is that although the contours around us are very hilly,we are walking along comparatively flat ground set on high embankments. We make very good progress and stop for a late lunch in a charming tea shop in Pennington, half the price of a pub.
The second part of the day was similar but we were amused by the art work along the way.  Apparently during the Tour de France cycle race round Yorkshire three years ago,the route had been lined with sculpture mainly done by local schools etc. These are now placed on the bridges and along the side of the path including carvings of animals and birds made from tree stumps. I imagine this was part of the cycle route.  A great effort has been made by reintroducing wild flowers on this section  I must say the display was stunning including some flowers I had not seen in ages, like Ragged Robin. Also a large number of the pinky purple common orchid. At the end of the walk there was a herd of Herdwick Sheep from the Lake District with their distinctive multi coloured brown fleece and white faces. Beatrice Potter was a well known breeder of these sheep. We have a chat to the local farmer who told us he worked for the conservation area and that Herdwicks were good at keeping the undergrowth in check.  Despite the bad start it has been a good day.  We are staying in Huddersfield in a house lent to us by a ZANE donor while they are away on holiday.

Day 9

Tom has to go to London today for an important meeting with some of the Service Charities as he is trying to get more help for all the Commonwealth ex-servicemen who fought for the Crown in unfashionable wars such as Korea and Borneo,many of whom are in dire need in their old age. He chooses the right day to leave as it is pouring with rain today and continues to do so throughout the day. It is a shame as Moses and I walk through stunning country of the Peak District along the side of a large reservoir but the mist is so low I can hardly appreciate it. Our walk today is from Dunford Bridge to  Glossop and is mainly on the Trans Pennine Way cycle track so I steam along as quickly as possible with a short break to eat rather a soggy bun in the car. Moses was very loathe to join me in the afternoon but I did not relish the idea of being on my own even though Moses would not be much use if anything happened!! I finished my 12 1/2 mile in record time.  Our hostess, who lived in a tiny cottage with no drying facilities did an amazing job drying my sodden clothes, even using her hairdryer to dry out my hat!

Day 10

Raining again today,will it ever stop.  I start out from Charlton and after a short walk up a very busy road I join a footpath along the River Etherow, which is very full. For the next 1/12 hours I enjoy one of the prettiest woodland walks beside a gushing steam that I have ever been on,despite the rain and the puddles. As I leave the wood and come on to a narrow road I see a large dustbin cart going down to a farm at the bottom of the road. As I turn down the road going in the other direction and start climbing up a very steep hill, I wonder if it will be soon be coming up behind me. Sure enough I hear it coming and as the road is extremely narrow as well as steep I wait in a gateway. I then hear a terrible noise of crashing gear changes and it stops. I walk on and wonder if it has broken down totally blocking the lane, it never reappears!  At the top the thick mist totally obscures what I imagine is a stunning view as I continue towards Romley  which I approach down a 1 in 13 gradient for about 1/2 mile.  My legs really feel the strain. It's always so much more difficult going downhill!  The rest of the walk is along the streets of Romley, Stockport, finishing at Cheadle.  Tom arrives back tonight, kindly having been picked up by our host at Macclesfield which reduces his journey considerably.

Day 11

We are joined today by our son-in-law John and Grandson Simeon.  John has set our route for our walk and put it on 'Fred', a mammoth task, as he has done for all our walks over the past 8 years!  Unfortunately we start walking on the wrong road as I was talking too much so was not concentrating on Fred.  We had to retrace our steps and start again. Most annoying.  The morning is spent walking the streets on Cheadle and Altrincham, not the most inspiring for any of us.  The afternoon improved as we left Altrincham and had a pleasant time across Dunham Park Golf Course and then into Dunham House and Deer Park which is owned by the National Trust. The house, a fine 18 century building was not open today.  Apparently it has not been lived in for at least 50 years,which seemed sad but at least it was being well looked after I suppose.  The last stretch of the walk is along the Bridgewater Canal.  Poor Moses is literally attacked by a sex mad black dog, twice his size who would not leave him alone, trying to mount him and almost throttled him with his front legs. Moses was highly embarrassed and he was in danger of being pushed into the canal. Eventually the owner called the dog and he ran off. We are late finishing our day and then got stuck in traffic on the M62, taking John back to his car so we arrive at our hosts for the night after 7pm but they are very understanding

Day 12

This is our penultimate day and the sun is shining and we are beginning to feel the end is in sight.  We continue to walk along the Bridgewater Canal, built by Lord Bridgewater  although I am sure he did not lift a shovel!  This was to move his coal to the sea ports.  It's one of the few canals that has no locks on it. After leaving the Canal we rejoin the Trans Pennine Way into Warrington and cross the Manchester Ship Canal by an old Victorian metal bridge. We speculate about the huge number of men it must have taken to dig a canal that size and that long and how many must have died in the digging!
As we walk trough Warrington, we are joined for a picnic by a lovely couple in their 80s , he had been a vicar in Harare as well as in other countries in Africa.  They joined us for the afternoon and proved to be very good company. Tonight our host and hostess live only  3 miles from the finish. Amusingly they have a Cockerpoo exactly the same age and colour as Moses and they got on famously.

Day 13

The last push today and the longest walk yet of nearly 14 miles. We start in good time having not had far to travel. We know today will be a long slog along streets with few distractions. We are determined to get well over half way before we stop for lunch and cover a good 8-9 miles which we are pleased about.  When we stop Markus tells us that someone rang to say she was joining us for the last part of the walk but he does not know her name. Our heart sinks as we really want to get finished and get off home. Half way through lunch, our good friends, Georgie and Charlie walk in, they have driven all the way from West Sussex to join us in the last bit of the walk. How kind is that!  We feel greatly energised by their company and complete to last 5 miles in what feels like double quick time. Our final destination is the Catholic Cathedral lovingly known as the Wigwam. I have been to it once before but was reminded how beautiful it is, both outside and particularly its interior, a very remarkable space and a fine place to end up.  We make a short prayer of thanksgiving for our safe completion of the walk before setting off back to Oxford.

You can read Tom’s much fuller Blog on www.zane.uk.com


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"At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality”

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2nd letter to the Corinthians



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